This is the follow-up to last week’s post announcing our move to Connecticut…. today I’m sharing Why Connecticut.
I was talking to my mom on the phone this weekend, not even 48 hours since we moved, and she asked, “Does it feel weird?” As in, does it feel weird not being in NYC anymore. “Actually it feels kind of normal.”
When I was a junior at Georgetown, I just had this gut feeling that I should move to New York when I graduated. I’m really glad I did. I think if anyone has the inclination to move to NYC you should. I don’t think it’s something you can forget about until you actually accomplish it. Who knows what you’re experience will be when you get there, but it’s always worth a shot.
That said, I figured out pretty quickly that I loved working in the city and did not love living in the city. Yes, there are many convenient things about New York life– but for every one convenience there are two inconveniences. I think the conveniences are there to kind of distract you from the fact that there’s a challenge around every corner. Taxi cabs seemingly everywhere (except 4pm), but delayed subways and a packed platform during rush hour. 24 hour food delivery for anything you’re craving, but grocery stores that take four tons of patience to wind through– and you can only buy what you can carry! The best shopping, but the highest rents for the tiniest of apartments.
For a while, I think I was adapting to this city life. I wasn’t adapting in a way that would lead to some moment where it eventually fit… instead, I was making adaptations to my everyday life to fit into this city system that felt a little foreign to me. And all for what? To say I lived there? To stick to a plan I came up with as a 20 year old? To prove to someone, anyone, that I was successful– that I could do it? It was like running through the motions and checking things off a list without feeling truly fulfilled.
It didn’t matter how I rearranged my apartment, it always felt a little dim. It didn’t matter how many times I walked in Central Park, I still felt overwhelmed by concrete. It didn’t matter how many opportunities I had, I still felt a little drained. It didn’t feel like real life.
I’m not the only one who thinks that, even some of my friends who grew up there have agreed. It’s a bubble where no one drives, where people spend all of their savings on a house share in the Hamptons for the summer, where it’s the status quo to be in the office until 10pm, where it’s normal to spend $40 to sweat out your stress (and real dedication if you do it twice a day).
(People in NYC say you can spot a tourist easily by seeing who is looking up to the sky. Well, I actually think New Yorkers don’t look up because when they do they’re reminded of how many apartments are stacked on top of each other and crammed onto one city block. Hundreds of people living in one building… It freaks me out if I think about just how many people LIVE in the city.)
It doesn’t feel normal to me.
Having gone to college in a metropolitan area (thankfully a smaller city than New York at least!), I left what I considered normal for this city life at 18. It took me a long time to adjust but I kind of got a hang of it. I wasn’t killing it by any means, but I was keeping my head above the water for sure.
I started to feel this urge to “nest” when I turned 25. I think having a dog was a major part of it and perhaps even being in a serious relationship. Pretty much immediately, I knew that the pros of living in the city were being outweighed by the cons.
Garrett and I started living together and we began thinking about where we’d end up. We both can kind of work anywhere, which is both a blessing and a curse. There’s nothing holding us in any one spot. The flexibility is incredible and also daunting. Should we spin a globe and point to a spot or cover our eyes and pin a place on the country and move there?
Last February we actually started looking pretty seriously into buying a house. We found this adorable cape style house in Rhode Island. After the tour with the real estate agent, we loaded back in our rented car and I bawled the whole way back to the city. A “normal life” felt tangible. I cried thinking about having a kitchen, having a car, having a backyard. I cried thinking about carrying groceries from the driveway to the counter, doing laundry without having to pay by the load… I just cried.
It was probably the point where I realized that I just didn’t want to live in New York anymore. We put in an offer on the house and were eventually outbid, which was crushing at the time but definitely a good thing in the long run.
Connecticut kept coming up again and again when discussing places to move. It’s really the perfect transition. This move still allows me to work in the city without having to live there. It’s under 50 minutes via train from our town to Grand Central Station (which, for comparison, is less time than it takes to get from the Upper East Side to the West Village on the weekend by subway). I’m currently trying to figure out how to schedule my meetings to match up with events so I’ll be commuting into the city two, three days max, a week. But it’s easily doable.
Houses in Connecticut are significantly more expensive than Rhode Island so we mutually decided that renting for a year was the best option. We don’t really know how the year will go and who knows if something comes up in the next 12 months that would have us move somewhere else. Plus having an extra year to save for a down payment is also helpful. Buying a house just doesn’t make the most financial sense from an investment standpoint at this moment in our lives.
Instead, we found an awesome one bedroom apartment that has an office (so excited to not work at a desk a foot away from my bed), a beautiful kitchen, and tons of natural light. We already knew people in the building and the neighborhood which was a warm welcome.
I bought a car last week. We discovered a great dog park close by where Teddy can play. Our pantries are stocked and home-cooked dinners have been made.
It’s been less than a week. We have no furniture and no internet yet and still, it feels like a world of a difference. I thought I’d feel a little emotional, but I really just feel like I can breathe. It feels normal.